Meritor Hub Bearing and Seal Press - Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems Aust. Ltd
Best solution to a workplace health and safety issue - 2012 Awards
Meritor is a global leader in providing innovative drivetrain mobility and braking solutions for original equipment manufacturers of trucks, trailers and specialty vehicles.
A major manual handling risk did exist during the process of installing bearings and seals into axle hub and drum assemblies. This was a very manual, heavy and labour intensive process that exposed operators to a number of risks including crushing and strain injuries.
These risks to the operators have now been eliminated with the unique design and installation of a new hub bearing and seal press. This equipment is now being considered by other Meritor plants worldwide.
What was the issue/s at the workplace?
The issue was the unacceptable exposure to injury to operators manually installing bearings and seals into axle hubs. This process involved the manual flipping of hub and drum assemblies in order to manually install the bearing and seal. This was followed by the hub and drum assembly then being flipped back to its original orientation.
As the assemblies can weigh up to 80kg, this dual process was exposing the operator to strain, striking and crushing type injuries.
The actual installation of the bearing and seal also required the repetitive and excessive manual use of a 3.5kg copper hammer and customised mandrel.
What did you do to control it/resolve it?
A new hub bearing and seal press was designed and installed, eliminating manual handling and other risks to the operator. Hub and drum assemblies are now loaded directly onto the conveyor system without the requirement for flipping or re-orientation.
The bearings and seals are then loaded onto the press mandrel. They are then inserted into the hub assembly by activating the buttons on the press.
As no flipping or hammering is required, all manual handling and other risks have been eliminated. As no moving parts are accessible during this process, the operator is also not exposed to any risk of crushing or entanglement.
Who did you talk to about the issue/s or who helped you resolve it?
The original design for the press was first created by in house maintenance expertise. This was then further developed by in house engineering, production, quality and OHS input. The main drivers of this project being the OHS Committee via consultation with operators, HSR's, team leaders and managers.
An external engineering company was then tasked to further develop and ultimately build and commission this equipment.
Throughout the entire process, all parties were consulted. All OHS issues were considered via a thorough risk assessment process. This utilised the skills and expertise of all those involved in order to implement effective risk elimination and control measures.
What was the outcome? How is the workplace better now?
The outcome is a safe method for installing bearings and seals into truck axle hub and drum assemblies. There is no manual handling risk to operators. Crushing and striking risks have also been eliminated. Complementing the successful OHS outcomes has been the improved quality of the product, as well as the improved efficiency and output.
Morale has also been improved as the commitment to improving OHS is evident not only by the teamwork required by all to achieve such a result, but also the commitment of the organisation to significantly invest financially into improving OHS conditions for all employees.
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